Swedish Engineering

Swedish Engineering

My grandpa is Swedish; my grandma, English. Whenever his wife would start reminiscing about the glories of the motherland, my Papa, a lifelong chemist, would always reply, “But you’ll never meet an English inventor. Bunch of druids. The Swedes invent things.” Whether or not you’ll ever meet an English inventor, the Swedes are known for their pioneering spirit–just look at Anders Celcius, who invented the 100 point temperature scale, or Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite and founded the prizes named after him. In particular, Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, is a thriving hub where Swedish ingenuity is housed. Nobel Prizes Red carpet. Flashing cameras. Designer dresses and white ties. Did the Academy Awards come to mind? Think instead to Stockholm, not Hollywood. Every year on December 10, people across the world flock to this seaside town to celebrate the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death by awarding a little something called the Nobel Prize. Despite average temperatures as low as 22°F on this day, Stockholm comes alive for the Nobel Prize ceremonies. What used to be just a local event has now become an international spectacle where scientists, doctors, and writers are given the same attention as movie stars. Also in attendance are the royal families of Sweden, members of the Swedish government, and other international guests who represent the scientific and cultural interests of their countries. Since 1926, the few who are lucky or talented enough to be chosen for prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, or Literature (the Peace and Economics prizes are awarded in Norway) have arrived on the scene at the Stockholm Concert Hall—a tall, graceful building with...
Extreme Cammock King: Man Takes Hammocks and Camping to the Extreme

Extreme Cammock King: Man Takes Hammocks and Camping to the Extreme

There’s camping, there’s hammocking, and then there’s cammocking—that is, opting for a hammock while camping. Then, of course, there’s extreme cammocking: suspending a 2,000 square foot hammock of weaved rope over a 400-foot canyon. These woven hammock-like nets are also known as space nets. To Andy Lewis, they’re called thug mansions because, like a 2Pac song, “that’s the only place where thugs get free and you gotta be a G at thug mansion.” And Lewis has every right to call these cammocks “thug mansions”—after all, he invented them. Lewis, known as both “Sketchy Andy” and “Mr. Slackline,” started the unique fringe activity known as “netting.” The “mansions” originally began smaller, starting as backyard hammocks and nets in trees. Lewis describes his invention as a “mix between a treehouse and a spiderweb.” He began with one tree, then two, and has made his way up to weaving nets that span as many as 20 trees. Perfecting this new and unique craft took Lewis about seven years. Since then Lewis has traveled across the world, taking his “thug mansion” to places like Spain, Portugal, and Canada. At one point Lewis took his invention to the Borneo rainforest in Southeast Asia, where he weaved giant rope nets in the trees. “We basically set up the nets like the monkeys set up their nests,” Lewis said. But Lewis didn’t stop with trees; his favorite place to set up the nets, to hang out on “thug mansion,” is Moab, Utah. There, “thug mansion” spans across canyons. Lewis said it’s hard to pinpoint where such a wacky and epic idea came from. He said his...
Thwarting Vacation Vexation: Eight Travel Proverbs

Thwarting Vacation Vexation: Eight Travel Proverbs

Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, but too often vacations with friends, roommates, or family becomes stressful. Constant proximity to traveling companions, limited downtime, and disagreements can leave vacationers feeling physically and even emotionally exhausted. Remembering these eight proverbs can help travelers return home feeling satisfied with their vacation. 1. A successful vacation is born when planning and flexibility meet and fall in love. The perfect balance of planning and flexibility may be different for every group of travelers, but make sure everyone in your group is on the same page and realize that there are many ways to enjoy a destination—not just what’s written in your planner. 2. Anything that can leak, will leak. Things like to melt, too. Pack potentially leaky things in plastic bags and never leave things that could melt in a hot car. Watch out for chocolate, lotions, hard candy, and drink bottles. 3. Anyone can turn out to be a talented snorer. Vacationing with the extended family? Don’t be fooled by your young niece’s petite exterior; sometimes the smallest ones have the loudest airways. Bring a package of earplugs for yourself and to share with your traveling companions. Everyone will thank you. 4. Leave room for souvenirs and spontaneity. Few experiences are as horrifying as throwing away personal possessions in an airport terminal because your suitcase gained a few too many pounds. Packing light will save you a lot of stress. 5. Doing nothing on purpose will make your somethings more purposeful. As much as traveling companions might enjoy each other’s company, too much time together can get tiresome. “Doing nothing”...
Breaking the Ice: Getting to Know Iceland

Breaking the Ice: Getting to Know Iceland

Despite its intimidating name, the frozen island that is Iceland is becoming a popular getaway destination. Its unique terrain of glaciers, hot springs, and volcanoes are major attractions for both locals and tourists all year round. Even the winter season often proves to be magical. But it’s not just the diverse landscape that makes Iceland feel like a winter wonderland. Iceland is home to an enchanting people that have both traditional and modern lifestyles, and tourists can experience both sides in a variety of ways. From ancient folklores to novel cuisine and long-time traditions to contemporary music, Iceland has something for everyone.  If you really want to get to know Iceland, try stepping outside of the tourist mold by breaking the ice and sharing some of these Icelandic traditions with the natives. Offbeat Music Music in Iceland has a history that is different than anywhere else. Due to its isolation, Iceland’s music did not change very much between the Middle Ages and the nineteenth century. But once contemporary music arrived, it was quickly accepted throughout the country, and Iceland has been rapidly developing music in everything from jazz to classical to contemporary music ever since. So turn up the beat and experience every part of Iceland’s musical culture. Dark Music Days Founded in 1980, the Dark Music Days (Myrkir Músíkdagar) is one of Iceland’s oldest music festivals. This festival typically happens at the end of January, in some of the longest days of the winter season. Taking place at the Harpa concert hall in the country’s capital, Reykjavík, this festival focuses on introducing new music, composers, and performers. It’s...

Fall 2016 Photo Contest Winners

First Place: Up in the Clouds On top of Mt. Persis with views of Mt. Index, Baring, Merchant and Gun peaks, and a blanket of clouds. Nate Munk, Redmond, WA Second Place: Nightfall in Rome Returning to my hotel near the Vatican after a rainy day in Rome, I was greeted with this sight. Timothy Elliott, Springville, UT Third Place: Fruit in the Shuk Located in West Jerusalem, Mahane Yehuda Market is known as “the Shuk” by locals and tourists alike. Shopkeepers are happy to offer samples and bargain in shekels. Allison Riding, Highland Village,...
Autobahn

Autobahn

Imagine this: road stretching for miles and miles—as far as the eye can see—the sound of wind whistling as the car hurtles along at a solid 100, now 120, now 150 miles per hour, followed by that rush, that feeling of pure exhilaration. It might all sound like a high-speed police chase at first, but on the German Autobahn, it’s just another morning commute. The Autobahn is a highway system in Germany with no set speed limit. That means no more checking over shoulder for cops or watching the speedometer. And if you are watching the speedometer, it’s probably to watch the hand ticking upward. Yes, the Autobahn is the perfect destination for those with a real-life need for speed. The phrase used to advertise the Autobahn in the 1970s sums it up perfectly: “Free driving for free citizens” (freie Fahrt für freie Bürger). However, some Americans who have experienced the Autobahn are surprised by the similarities it shares with freeways in the United States. “I was surprised at how normal the experience was,” said Benjamin Schmidt, a Utah native who traveled to Germany with some friends in 2015. “People self-regulate already on highways and interstates in the US; the only difference on the Autobahn is that there is no specified top speed. You decide for yourself what you want your top speed to be.” People concerned with high speeds on highways, especially on turns in the road, are naturally wary of the Autobahn’s lack of regulation. However, Schmidt noticed most drivers were aware of turns in the road that made higher speeds more dangerous and compensated for these...